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China Told Women to Have Babies, but Its Population Shrank Again 

China’s ruling Communist Party is addressing a national emergency. In order to fix it, the party wants more women to become mothers.They have benefited from incentives such as money, tax rebates, and less priced housing. It has also inspired patriotism by encouraging girls to be “good mothers and wives.”The project is not succeeding. For the second year in a row, Chinese women’s increasing rejection of marriage and childbearing contributed to China’s population reduction in 2023. This added to the government’s mounting concern over the increasingly ageing population and economic outlook of the nation.

9.02 million babies were born in 2023, the fewest since 9.56 million in 2022, according to data released by China on Wednesday. This is the seventh year in a row that birth rates have decreased. In addition to the 11.1 million fatalities that took place in the year, China has the biggest proportion of senior people globally, and the number is increasing at a faster pace. China’s overall population by the end of 2023 was estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics to be 1,409,670,000, a two million reduction from the year before.

“China’s Demographic Issues: The Ageing Population, the Effects of Gender Inequality, and the Legacy of the One-Child Policy”

Beijing worries that as the population ages and declines, China will have fewer people of working age to power the country’s economy. The demographic problem struck sooner than nearly everyone imagined, and its effects are already being felt by the underfunded and fragile health care and pension systems.The problem was made worse by China’s one-child policy, which over several decades caused the birthrate to fall. Furthermore, the rule gave rise to generations of young girls who were given an education and job opportunities despite being the only children in their family. Later on, these girls developed into strong women, and they now perceived Beijing’s measures as an effort to push them back.

Xi Jinping, the president of China, has long supported women assuming more traditional duties in the home. He recently made a call to action for public employees to encourage “marriage and childbearing culture” and mould young people’s ideas of “love and marriage, fertility and family.”Experts countered that structural gender inequality—a reality that shaped women’s perceptions on parenting—was not even attempted to be addressed. The laws that are meant to protect women, their property, and equitable treatment have failed them.

“China’s Pronatalist Policies and Women’s Opinions: The Struggle for Reproductive Equality and Autonomy”

“Women in our country still don’t feel confident enough to have children,” Guangdong, a social media specialist from the southern region, said. Rashelle Chen. Ms. Chen, 33, declared after their five-year marriage that she had no desire to have children.She said, “It appears that the government’s birth policy doesn’t protect the person who gives birth; it just seems to be focused on making babies.” “It does not defend women’s rights and interests.”Propaganda campaigns and state-sponsored courtship activities urge young people to get married and start kids. In China, becoming a parent is not common for single individuals or unmarried couples. There are many calls for China’s youth to take part in “rejuvenating the nation”

After hearing the message, a lot of parents already have traditional views about marriage. Ms. Chen’s parents are often so upset over her decision to postpone having children that they cry over the phone. It says, “We are no longer your parents.”The rising awareness of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace has made women in China more conscious of their rights. The majority of Chinese people still support equality, despite the government’s efforts to suppress the feminist movement.

Chinese women’s rights activist Zheng Churan said, “In the last ten years, a vast network of feminists has been established via the internet.” On the eve of International Women’s Day in 2015, she and four other activists were taken into custody. Ms. Zheng asserts that women nowadays are more powerful.Censorship has mostly silenced the conversation on women’s issues and periodically decreased public debate of sexual harassment, discrimination, and gender violence. But Ms. Zheng pointed out that through sharing their experiences online, women have been able to support the victims.

Gender equality is supported by laws in China. For example, discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of gender, race, or ethnicity is prohibited. According to Guo Jing, an activist who has helped women facing sexual harassment and discrimination at work obtain legal protection, companies really discriminate against female employees while promoting their services to men.It is said by Ms. Guo that women are “in some ways more aware of gender inequality in every area of life.” “Even in court, women still struggle to obtain justice.” In 2014, she brought legal action against the state-owned Dongfang Cooking Training School after being advised not to look for work due to her gender. Although she prevailed, the amount of her payout was only about

A recent wave of shocking news stories and social media posts about violent crimes against women has caught the attention of the country. Some of these incidents include the finding of an eight-child mother chained to a shanty wall and the severe thrashing of numerous women at a Tangshan restaurant.Women often cite these horrific crimes as reasons why they are not interested in marriage. Another is the updating of rules and regulations, such the most recent one that requires a 30-day cooling-off period before civil divorces are finalised. The number of marriages has been falling for the past nine years. Government data indicates that this development, which was previously mostly observed in cities, hasA professor at Indiana University named Ethan Michelson looked through about 150,000 court rulings related to divorce cases and found that about 80% of the petitions filed by women were initially denied by a judge, often in situations where there was evidence of domestic abuse. (Roughly 70% of requests for a second opportunity are turned down.)



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